Australia Needs a National Strategy to Tackle Housing Affordability

Across Australia households are struggling to pay rent or mortgage repayments. People on low incomes are particularly worse off – paying more than 30% of their income on rent and often forced to live in low-rent areas where jobs and transport are scarce. Over 100,000 Australians are homeless. National action is needed to address the housing affordability crisis.

ACOSS and it members welcome the attention on affordable housing, particularly the focus on low income and disadvantaged Australians, in today’s ALP National Housing Affordable Summit. We also welcome the Labor Party’s commitment to appoint a housing minister, establish a research council and a national housing affordability agreement.

We call upon all parties to:

  • Appoint a Federal Cabinet level Minister for Housing to drive forward the policies across all levels of Government to increase housing affordability;
  • Introduce a National Affordable Rental Incentive (NARI) Scheme to provide incentives to increase private and public investment in affordable housing;
  • Increase funding to progressively raise the availability of public and community housing stock;
  • Ensure that rent assistance best meets the needs for struggling renters and extending it to low income people who currently miss out.

Andrew Johnson, Executive Director, Australian Council of Social Service
If we value a fair go for all Australia then we urgently need a National Affordable Housing Plan, the introduction of a National Affordable Rental Incentive Scheme, and increases in the availability of public and community housing.

Adrian Pisarski, Chair, National Shelter
The current housing crisis is at its most severe for low income and disadvantaged Australians urgent action is required beginning with a strategy to reinvest in social housing.

Carol Croce, Executive Officer, Community Housing Federation of Australia
Any strategy to improve housing affordability must focus on the situation of low income renters through increased investment in community housing and non for profit affordable housing models.

Gordon Melsom, Executive Officer, Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations
Affordable housing is obviously part of addressing the problem of homelessness but what is also needed is a holistic range of support services to help people stay in that housing.

John Falzon, Chief Executive Office, St Vincent De Paul National Council
Our members are constantly coming across families forced to live in cars and caravans. How can we ever be a clever country if we can not even house our most vulnerable people?

Major Brad Halse, Communications Director, Salvation Army
We welcome the opportunity to engage with all levels of government to find urgent solutions for the dire circumstances which Australia’s homeless find themselves in.

Eleri Morgan-Thomas, National Manager Community Services, Mission Australia
We can help our clients avoid the spiral into homelessness if we ensure they can access compassionate and affordable rental housing as part of a national housing strategy.